An Odor Reminder – EPA’s Research

Every year when the Virginia Biosolids Council reports on its progress in its Code of Good Practice Annual Report, odor is typically, by volume, the number one complaint received by the Department of Environmental Quality. The VBC reported a total of five biosolids-related complaints in 2022.

Several years ago, the U.S. EPA compiled a report on odor, the Evaluation Of Odors Associated With Land Application Of Biosolids. There have been numerous odor studies through the years, and the results of this study are typical of other odor studies.

The study was performed at a biosolids application demonstration site using several different gas collection devices and analytical methods to determine changes in air concentration of several organic and inorganic compounds associated with biosolids application over various time periods. Various organic and inorganic odorants were detected at 1.5 m above the ground surface within the biosolids application zone area immediately after application. They then decreased to non-detectable levels – eventually – after application, which is consistent with other biosolids application studies.